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August 2011


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As a recovering hand-waver myself, with 10+ years of "hands-side-ity," I couldn't agree more. :^D

Steve Gershik

What a great point. Nostradamus would have been right at home in many Powerpoint fueled hand-waving sessions in corporate America today. Talk about obfuscation.

Foresight is a great luxury to have in business and it would be great to see more useful examples of marketing forecasts so that marketers can adopt that practice.

A necessary skill, though, is thoughtful hindsight. Many marketers still suffer from an astigmatism when it comes to seeing and interpreting what has already happened, don't you think?


Awesome piece Steve. I would only add a small historical footnote. Nostradamus' track record for foresight is a bit hard to measure, since most of his predictions were written in a fusion of 3-4 languages describing abstract visions of a future he couldn't understand. So Nostradamus (according to a documentary I saw once) used obfuscation to avoid persecution/death at the hands of religious zealots - a more literal version of "getting fired."

In many ways, modern marketers have to reverse-engineer the Nostradamus method. i.e., we have to explain complex data from the past in simple, digestible terms to drive future actions. I would be tempted to say that marketers have to have the foresight of Nouriel Roubini, except we're generally not allowed to forecast bad news without quickly adding a plan to make it better. Roubini gets to doom-and-gloom all day to a standing ovation.

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  • Steve Gershik has been a VP of Marketing and demand generation leader for over 18 years. He frequently writes and speaks about marketing automation, brand management, demand generation and Internet marketing.

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